Foreign Policy Blogs

Libya Warrants: A Milestone In International Justice

From Amanda Bowen at Citizens for Global Solutions (WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2011)

In issuing an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi, the International Criminal Court has demonstrated yet again that tyrants and human rights abusers around the world—even if they are heads of state–will not enjoy immunity from international law, and will be held responsible for their crimes, Citizens for Global Solutions said today. Melissa Kaplan, Deputy Director of Government Relations at Citizens for Global Solutions and Coordinator of the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court (WICC) said, “This ruling is an important first step towards securing peace and justice for victims in Libya and a critical development in the international justice movement.”

A panel of three judges at the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court ruled yesterday that evidence presented by Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo showed reasonable grounds that Gaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and his intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senussi committed crimes against humanity in a violent government crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrations in Libya earlier this year. The judges issued the warrants to ensure that the three men appear before the ICC, to prevent further interference in the on-going investigation, and halt the commission of additional crimes.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 requires Libya to cooperate with the Court, but its leaders have already indicated they will not do so. The resolution mandates all ICC member states around the world turn Gaddafi and his allies into the Court if he should step foot on their soil. It also urges states not party to the Rome Statute to assist in the capture of the accused war criminals. Kaplan said, “We now urge the international community to fully cooperate with the Court to ensure that Gaddafi and the others named in these warrants are brought to justice. International cooperation is essential to resolve global challenges, building a safer, more secure world.”

In the midst of the armed conflict, there are critics who believe that the ICC warrants prevent a peaceful resolution that would permit Gaddafi to leave in exile. But public statements made prior to the arrest warrants being issued make it clear that Gaddafi will fight in Libya to the bitter end. Citizens for Global Solutions said, “Seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Libya and seeking justice for Gaddafi’s victims should not be seen as mutually exclusive goals; one should not be sacrificed for the other. While we seek an end to the military conflict and promote political reforms, the ICC must be able to bring criminals to justice.”

Citizens for Global Solutions is a national membership organization that strategically promotes U.S. engagement with international organizations to solve global problems.  You can visit them on the web here.



Brandon Henander
Brandon Henander

Brandon lives in Chicago and works as a Project Coordinator for Illinois Legal Aid Online. He has a LL.M. in International Law and International Relations from Flinders University in Adelaide. Brandon has worked as a lobbyist for Amnesty International Australia and as an intern for U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science, Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Iowa. His interests include American and Asian politics, human rights, war crimes and the International Criminal Court.